TEAM SPIRIT has been at the heart of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ astonishing improvement, according to forward Matty Ashurst.
The 36-28 home win over Warrington Wolves two days ago lifted Wakefield to sixth in First Utility Super League, five points clear of the bottom four and only four points behind fourth spot.
It has been a remarkable transformation since Chris Chester took charge in the week before Easter, when Wildcats were bottom of the table – and in-form forward Ashurst said enjoying playing together has been the key.
“I think the main thing is the togetherness of the boys,” Ashurst said of the difference between now and earlier in the season.
“We are a close group and everyone’s working hard for each other.
“Even when things aren’t going completely right for us we manage to dig in and pull results out, which is a great thing for the team.”
A place in the Super-8s is well within Wildcats’ grasp, but asked how high they can go this year, Ashurst insisted: “We are not getting too carried away.
“We are just going to take each game as it comes and try and win as many games as we can.
“We will see where that takes us come the end of the season. It would be a massive achievement if we could get into the eight, but we just want to keep putting performances in and hopefully that will get us where we need to be.”
Sunday’s victory was Wildcats’ eighth in nine games under Chester and Ashurst said they had been determined to make up for a poor display in the previous week’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup success against Kingstone Press League One side Toulouse.
“We had a bit of a blip against Toulouse, we didn’t perform that day,” said the former St Helens and Salford second-rower.
“We wanted to put in a performance and get back on track. We worked hard in training all week to put it right, and I think we did that for the main part of the game.”
Wildcats face another huge challenge on Sunday against Catalans Dragons at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
Ashurst said: “They are joint top and they will be favourites.
“They are a big, strong side so it’s going to be another test for us. You want to test yourself against the best teams, the top-four teams and if you can beat them it shows where you’re at as a team.”
Ashurst, who has agreed a new contract keeping him at Wakefield until the end of 2018, has been in good form for Wildcats and scored two of their six tries against Warrington, both off passes by stand-off Jacob Miller.
“It was very pleasing,” he said.
“I like playing with Milky [Miller], he is a great player.
“He is a good player to play alongside and I am enjoying it.
“It is always nice to score tries, but the win was the most important thing and it was a big win for us, against a good side.
“They have been the most consistent team all year. They are top of the league, so it was a great win for the club.”